The Bargaining by Carly Anne West

Cover Image The Bargainning Sppoky Forest

The Shining meets The Conjuring in this scary and suspenseful novel “akin to old Stephen King novels” (School Library Journal).

The fact that neither of her parents wants to deal with her is nothing new to Penny. She’s used to being discussed like a problem, a problem her mother has finally passed on to her father. What she hasn’t gotten used to is her stepmother…especially when she finds out that she’ll have to spend the summer with April in the remote woods of Washington to restore a broken-down old house.

Set deep in a dense forest, the old Carver House is filled with abandoned antique furniture, rich architectural details, and its own chilling past. The only respite Penny can find away from April’s renovations is in Miller, the young guy who runs the local general store. He’s her only chance at a normal and enjoyable summer.

But Miller has his own connection to the Carver house, and it’s one that goes beyond the mysterious tapping Penny hears at her window, the handprints she finds smudging the glass panes, and the visions of children who beckon Penny to follow them into the dark woods. Miller’s past just might threaten to become the terror of Penny’s future…

****Ani’s Review****

The Bargaining by Carly Anne West was a stretch for me to read. I am a complete wimp when it comes to horror stories and this one was spooky as all get out! I only kept reading because her writing was so enjoyable. West really knows how to spin a spooky tale. Suspense, creepy factor, and and decent main character, make for a great ghost story. Perfect for those of you who like getting chills, are worried someone is following you – and like it, and enjoy the feeling of not wanting to stay by yourself at night. Enjoy at your own risk – don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs

Cover Image grid of skull xrays

No one speaks the language of suspense more brilliantly than Kathy Reichs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Temperance Brennan series. In Speaking in Bones, the forensic anthropologist finds herself drawn into a world of dark secrets and dangerous beliefs, where good and evil blur.

Professionally, Temperance Brennan knows exactly what to do—test, analyze, identify. Her personal life is another story. She’s at a loss, wondering how to answer police detective Andrew Ryan’s marriage proposal. But the matter of matrimony takes a backseat when murder rears its head.

Hazel “Lucky” Strike—a strident amateur detective who mines the Internet for cold cases—comes to Brennan with a tape recording of an unknown girl being held prisoner and terrorized. Strike is convinced the voice is that of eighteen-year-old Cora Teague, who went missing more than three years earlier. Strike is also certain that the teenager’s remains are gathering dust in Temperance Brennan’s lab.

Brennan has doubts about working with a self-styled websleuth. But when the evidence seems to add up, Brennan’s next stop is the treacherous backwoods where the chilling recording (and maybe Cora Teague’s bones) were discovered. Her forensic field trip only turns up more disturbing questions—along with gruesome proof of more untimely deaths.

While local legends of eerie nocturnal phenomena and sinister satanic cults abound, it’s a zealous and secretive religious sect that has Brennan spooked and struggling to separate the saints from the sinners. But there’s nothing, including fire and brimstone, that can distract her from digging up the truth and taking down a killer—even as Brennan finds herself in a place where angels fear to tread, devils demand their due, and she may be damned no matter what.

************Ani’s Review***********

Speaking In Bones by Kathy Reichs is a lesson in forensic study as well as a peek into the world of closed missing persons cases. I always love when I am educated by a novel and Reichs does not fail to deliver. In this story, Temperance Brennan is visited by a websleuth who thinks she has a lead on some bones that Temperance cataloged years ago. In researching the case, Temperance’s curiosity is peaked and we all know where that leads!

This is the first Temperance Brennan novel that I’ve read and I knew going in that it was a series. So although this story was a good stand alone, there were obvious references to things that happened in previous books. This was not a fatal flaw and only detracted slightly to the romantic side plot. Overall, Speaking in Bones is a completely engrossing…and yes, wonderfully gross novel. Happy reading!

Bloodstream by Tess Gerritsen

Bloodstream book cover

Lapped by he gentle waters of Locust Lake, the small resort town of Tranquility, Maine, seems like the perfect spot for Dr. Claire Elliot to shelter her adolescent son, Noah, from the distractions of the big city and the lingering memory of his father’s death. But with the first snap of winter comes shocking news that puts her practise on the line: a teenage boy under her care has committed an appalling act of violence. And as Claire and all of Tranquility soon discover, it is just the start of a chain of lethal outbursts among the town’s teenagers.

As the rash of disturbing behavior grows, Claire uncovers a horrifying secret: this is not the first time it has happened. Twice a century,the children of Tranquility lash out with deadly violence. Claire suspects that there is a biological cause for the epidemic, and she fears that the placid Locust Lake may conceal an insidious danger. As she races to save Tranquility — and her son — from harm, Claire discovers an even greater threat: a shocking conspiracy to manipulate nature, and turn innocents to slaughter.

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Ani’s Review

This thriller was just what I needed to give myself a break from YA dystopian fantasy! It was smart, quick, interesting, a little bit scary, and I found that I could not put it down! The characters were well developed and the plot moved along quickly. I was surprised by the outcome and pleased that I fell for all of author Gerritsen’s traps and tricks along the way. I read this on my Kindle but, for reasons that I cannot explain, I really wanted this in paperback. Leave a comment and let me know if you enjoyed this as much as I did!